Background and aim Communication with healthcare professionals is challenging for those with hearing loss. This study aimed to determine the impact dedicated deaf awareness training could have on medical student’s attitudes to and knowledge of deafness, and to explore ways of incorporating deaf awareness training into the core undergraduate medical curriculum. Methods A validated questionnaire was used to measure attitudes to and knowledge of deafness in those taking an optional deaf awareness and basic sign language module for second year medical students compared to students who took another module. Previous students on this module were also contacted and asked to complete the same questionnaire. Focus groups with these students explored ways to incorporate deaf awareness training into the core undergraduate medical curriculum. Results After completing the module, students had a more positive attitude to deaf individuals (p < 0.001), and higher knowledge scores (p = 0.027) in comparison to the control group. Examination of data revealed a significant negative association between years since undertaking the module and attitudes score (r = − 0.29, p = 0.04, n = 51), with no significant association for knowledge score (r = 0.22, p = 0.11, n = 52). Focus groups suggested integrating deaf awareness training into existing undergraduate communication skills teaching, with the inclusion of deaf tutors. Conclusions This study indicates that incorporating a specialist module on deafness can improve attitudes to and knowledge of deafness. Importantly, this effect decreases over time, demonstrating the need for refresher training amongst junior doctors.
- Deaf awareness
- medical students